2 Samuel 13

Amnon and Tamar

1 David's son Absalom had a beautiful sister. Her name was Tamar. After some time, David's son Amnon began to love Tamar very much. 2 Amnon was very upset because he loved his sister Tamar so much. He became ill because of this. Tamar had never had sex with any man, so Amnon knew that it would be difficult to get near her.

13:1David was the father of both Tamar and Amnon, but they had different mothers. So Tamar was Amnon's half-sister.

3 Amnon had a friend called Jonadab. He was the son of David's brother, Shimeah. Jonadab was a clever man. 4 He said to Amnon, ‘You are the king's son! So why do you seem so sad every morning? Tell me about your trouble.’

Amnon said to him, ‘I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister.’

5 Jonadab told him, ‘Go and lie down on your bed. Pretend that you are ill. Your father will come to see you. Then you can say to him, “Please send my sister Tamar in here to give me something to eat. I will watch her as she prepares the food. Then she can use her own hand to feed me.” ’

6 So Amnon lay down on his bed. He pretended that he was ill. When the king came in to see him, Amnon said to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come in here. I want her to cook some little cakes while I watch her. Then she can feed me herself.’

7 David sent a message to Tamar in the palace. He told her, ‘Go to your brother Amnon's house. Prepare some food for him to eat there.’ 8 So Tamar went to Amnon's house. He was lying down on his bed. She took some flour and water and she mixed them together. She made the cakes while he watched her. Then she baked them.

9 Then she put the cakes on a plate and she put them in front of him. But he refused to eat them. Instead, Amnon said, ‘Everyone must go out and leave me alone here.’ So everyone left him alone with Tamar.

10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, ‘Bring the food here into my bedroom. Then you can use your own hand to feed me.’

So Tamar took the cakes that she had made. She brought them to Amnon in his bedroom. 11 But when she offered the cakes to him, he took hold of her. He said to her, ‘Come here, my sister! Come into bed with me.’

12 Tamar answered him, ‘Do not do this, my brother! Do not make me ashamed. Nobody in Israel would do such a wicked thing. Do not be so foolish! 13 Think about me. I would have to hide because of my shame. And people would say that you are the worst fool in Israel. No, you should speak to the king. I am sure that he will let you marry me.’

14 But Amnon refused to listen to her. He was stronger than she was. So he took hold of her and he had sex with her.

15 After that, Amnon hated Tamar very much. He now hated her more strongly than he had loved her. He said to her, ‘Go away from here!’

16 But Tamar replied, ‘No, I will not go! If you send me away, that would be even worse. It would be more evil that what you have already done to me.’

But Amnon refused to listen to her. 17 He called out to his own special servant. He told him, ‘Throw this woman out of my house! Then lock the door after she has gone.’ 18 So the servant took her out and then he locked the door. Tamar was wearing a beautiful long dress. All the king's daughters who were not yet married wore beautiful dresses like that. 19 Now Tamar put ashes on her head. She tore the beautiful dress that she was wearing. She covered her head with her hands. She wept loudly as she went home.

20 When her brother Absalom saw her, he said, ‘Has your brother Amnon done this to you? Now be quiet. Remember that he is your brother. So do not be too upset.’

After that, Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's house. She was sad and lonely.

21 When King David heard about what had happened, he was very angry. 22 But Absalom would not say anything to Amnon, good or bad. He hated Amnon because he had brought shame on his sister, Tamar.

Absalom kills Amnon

23 Two years later, Absalom's men were cutting the wool from his sheep. They were in Baal Hazor, near to Ephraim's land. Absalom asked all the king's sons to meet him there. 24 Then he went to the king and he said, ‘My men have started to cut the wool from my sheep. Please will your and your officers come and join us at this happy time?’

25 King David replied to Absalom, ‘No, my son, we should not all go. It would cause you too much trouble.’

Absalom asked him again, but the king still refused to go. Instead, he asked God to bless Absalom.

26 So Absalom said, ‘If you will not come with me, please let my brother Amnon come.’

The king said, ‘Why do you want him to go with you?’ 27 But Absalom asked the king more strongly. So the king agreed to send Amnon and all his other sons.

28 Absalom then told his servants, ‘When Amnon has drunk a lot of wine I will tell you, “Knock him down!” Then you must kill him immediately. Do not be afraid. I am the one who is commanding you to do this. So be strong and brave.’

29 So Absalom's men killed Amnon, as Absalom had told them to do. Then all the king's other sons got on their mules. They quickly rode away.

30 While they were still on the way home, David heard news about what had happened. Someone told him, ‘Absalom has attacked all the king's sons. Not one son is still alive.’ 31 The king was very upset. He stood up and he tore his clothes. Then he lay down on the ground. All his servants were standing around him. They had torn their clothes, too.

32 But Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah, said, ‘My lord, do not think that they have killed all your sons. Only Amnon is dead. Absalom has decided to do this since Amnon brought shame on his sister Tamar. 33 My lord the king, you should not believe the report that all your sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead.’

34 While this was happening, Absalom had run away.

There was an officer standing on the wall of Jerusalem to watch. When he looked, he saw a big group of people who were coming from the west. They were coming down the hill on the road from Horonaim. He went to the king and he told him the news.

35 Jonadab said to the king, ‘See, the king's sons are coming now, as I said they would.’

36 As he said that, the king's sons arrived. They were weeping loudly. The king and all his servants were also weeping. King David continued to weep for his son Amnon every day.

37 Absalom ran away to Ammihud's son, Talmai, the king of Geshur. 38 He stayed in Geshur for three years.

39 By this time, King David had stopped being so upset about Amnon's death. He wanted very much to see Absalom again.